Socionics pp 104-131 | Cite as

Agents Enacting Social Roles. Balancing Formal Structure and Practical Rationality in MAS Design

  • Martin Meister
  • Diemo Urbig
  • Kay Schröter
  • Renate Gerstl
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3413)


We introduce an integrated approach to the conceptualisation, implementation and evaluation of a MAS (multi-agent system) which is based on sociological concepts of practical roles and organisational coordination via negotiations. We propose a middle level of scale, located between interaction and the overall organisational structure, as the starting point for MAS design, with formal and practical modes of coordination to be distinguished over all relevant levels of scale. In our contribution, we present the modelling principles of our MAS, the agent architecture and the implementation. In the next step the approach is extended to a methodology for the investigation of processes of hybridisation, which means the re-entering of artificial sociality in a real-world domain. The integrated approach is intended to contribute to a generalised understanding of the Socionics program, which in our view should be seen as the enrolment of independent, but subsequent steps in an overall interdisciplinary approach.


Multiagent System Formal Role Agent Architecture Negotiation Behaviour Negotiation Partner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Aamodt, A., Plaza, E.: Case-Based Reasoning: Foundational issues, methodological variations, and system approaches. Artificial Intelligence Communications, 7(1), 39–59 (1984)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aldrich, H.: Organizations evolving. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks (1999)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Almog, O.: The Problem of Social Type: A Review. Electronic Journal of Sociology (1998), (12.11.2002)
  4. 4.
    Arrow, K.J.: Social choice and individual values, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York (1963)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Atteslander, P.: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung. Berlin, de Gruyter (1993)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Beer, M., d’Inverno, M., Luck, M., Jennings, N., Preist, C., Schroeder, M.: Negotiation in multi-agent systems. Knowledge Engineering Review 14(3), 285–289 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Berg, M., Toussaint, P.: The mantra of modelling and the forgotten powers of paper: A sociotechnical view on the development of process-oriented ICT in health care (06.08.2002),
  8. 8.
    Bourdieu, P.: Ökonomisches Kapital, kulturelles Kapital, soziales Kapital. In: Kreckel, R. (ed.) Soziale Ungleichheiten, pp. 183–198. Schwartz, Göttingen (1983)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bourdieu, P.: Sozialer Raum und Klassen/ Lecon sur la Lecon. Zwei Vorlesungen. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a.M (1985)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bourdieu, P.: The logic of practice. Stanford University Press, Stanford (1990)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Burkhard, H.-D.: Software-Agenten. In: Görz, G., Rollinger, C.R., Schneeberger, J. (eds.) Handbuch der künstlichen Intelligenz, 3rd edn., pp. 981–986. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, München (2000)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Burkhard, H.-D., Rammert, W.: Integration kooperationsfähiger Agenten in komplexen Organisationen. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Gestaltung hybrider offener Systeme. Technical University – Technology Studies Working Papers, TUTS-WP-1-2001. Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, TU Berlin (2000)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bowker, G.C., Star, S.L., Turner, W., Gasser, L. (eds.): Social science, technical systems, and cooperative work. Beyond the great divide. Lawrence Earlbaum, Hillsdale, NYGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Castelfranchi, C.: Formalising the informal? Dynamic social order, bottom-up social control, and spontaneous normative relations. Nordic Journal of Philosophical Logic. (2003), (20.11.2003)
  15. 15.
    Cohen, M.D., March, J.G., Olsen, J.P.: A garbage can model of organizational choice. Administrative Science Quarterly 17(1), 1–25 (1972)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Campbell, D.T.: Factors relevant to the validity of experiments in social settings. In: Denzin, N. (ed.) Sociological Methods: A Sourcebook, Aldine, Chicago, pp. 243–263 (1970)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Dahrendorf, R.: Homo Sociologicus: Versuch zur Geschichte, Bedeutung und Kritik der Kategorie der sozialen Rolle. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen (1974)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    DiMaggio, P.J., Powell, W.W.: The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review 48(2), 147–160 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Eisenführ, F.: Rationales Entscheiden, 2nd edn. Springer, Berlin (1994)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Esser, H.: Soziologie – Spezielle Grundlagen. Band 1: Situationslogik und Handeln, Campus, Frankfurt a.M (1999)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fischer, K., Müller, J.P., Pischel, M.: A pragmatic BDI architecture. In: Huhns, M.N., Singh, M.P. (eds.) Readings in Agents, pp. 217–224. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San Francisco (1998)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Geller, H.: Position, Rolle, Situation. Zur Aktualisierung soziologischer Analyseinstrumente, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen (1994)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Gerstl, R., Osherenko, A., Lindemann, G.: The description of formal roles in hospital environments. In: Lindemann, G., Moldt, D., Polucci, M., Yu, B. (eds.) RASTA 2002, pp. 123–130 (2002)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gonzales Campanini, I., Holler, G.: Die Neuordnung des Pflegedienstes in einem städtischen Krankenhaus. Ergebnisse der wissenschaftlichen Begleitung in den Städtischen Kliniken Frankfurt a.M.-Höchst. Universität Hannover (1993)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gotsch, W.: Soziale Steuerung – zum fehlenden Konzept einer Debatte. In: Glagow, M., Willke, H. (eds.): Dezentrale Gesellschaftssteuerung: Probleme der Integration polyzentrischer Gesellschaften. Centaurus, Pfaffenweiler, pp. 27–44 (1987)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Janning, F.: Abschied von der Hierarchie? Dezentralisierung in mittelständischen Unternehmen. Rainer Hampp Verlag, München (2002)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Jennings, N.R., Faratin, P., Lomuscio, A.R., Parsons, S., Sierra, C., Wooldridge, M.: Automated negotiation: Prospects, methods and challenges. International Journal of Group Decision and Negotiation 10(2), 199–215 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Landesman, C.: The voluntary provision of public goods. PhD thesis, Princeton University (access date: 11,20, 1995),
  29. 29.
    Laux, H.: Entscheidungstheorie. Springer, Berlin (1998)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lenz, M.: Case retrieval nets as a model for building flexible information systems. Dissertation, Humboldt University, Berlin (1999)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lettkemann, E., Meister, M., Hanft, A., Schröter, K., Malitz, R.: The description of practical roles in hospital environments. In: Lindemann, G., Jonker, C., Timm, I.J. (eds.): Proceedings of the MASHO Workshop: Modelling Artificial Societies and Hybrid Organizations. 25th German Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Aachen, Germany, pp. 29–36 (2002)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Malsch, T.: Naming the unnamable: Socionics or the sociological turn of/ to distributed artificial intelligence. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 4(3), 155–186 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    March, J.G., Simon, H.: Organizations. Wiley, New York (1958)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Meister, M., Urbig, D., Gerstl, R., Lettkemann, E., Osherenko, A., Schröter, K.: Die Modellierung praktischer Rollen für Verhandlungssysteme in Organisationen.Wie die Komplexität von Multiagentensystemen durch Rollenkonzeptionen erhöht werden kann.Working paper tuts-wp-6-2002, Technical University – Technology Studies, Berlin (2002)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Merton, R.K.: The role-set: Problems in sociological theory. British Journal of Sociology 8, 106–120 (1957)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Meyer, J.W., Rowan, B.: Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American Journal of Sociology 83, 340–363 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Morgan, M., Morrison, M.: Models as mediators. In: Perspectives on natural and social sciences, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Mueller, J.: The Design of Intelligent Agents: A layered approach LNCS, vol. 1177. Springer, Berlin (1996)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Orlikowski, W.J.: The duality of technology: Rethinking the concept of technology in organizations. Organization Science 3(3), 398–427 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Pages, R.: Das Experiment in der Soziologie. In: König, R. (ed.) Handbuch der empirischen Sozialforschung, pp. 273–342. Ferdinand Enke Verlag, Stuttgart (1974)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Popitz, H.: Der Begriff der sozialen Rolle als Element der soziologischen Theorie. J.C.B. Mohr,Tübingen (1967)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Prinz, W., Jarke, M., Rogers, Y., Schmidt, K., Wulf, V. (eds.): ECSCW 2001. Proceedings of the Seventh European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 16–20, Bonn, Germany. Kluver, Dordrecht (September 2001)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Rammert, W.: Technik als verteilte Aktion. Wie technisches Wirken als Agentur in hybriden Aktionszusammenhängen gedeutet werden kann. Working paper tuts-wp-3-2002, Technical University – Technology Studies, Berlin (2002)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Rammert, W., Schulz-Schaeffer, I.: Technik und Handeln. Wenn soziales Handeln sich auf menschliches Verhalten und technische Abläufe verteilt. In: Rammert, W., Schulz-Schaeffer, I. (eds.): Können Maschinen handeln? Soziologische Beiträge zum Verhältnis von Mensch und Technik. Campus, Frankfurt a.M., pp. 11–64 (2002)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Rao, A.S., Georgeff, M.P.: Modeling rational agents within a BDI architecture. In: Fikes, R., and Sandewall, E. (eds.): Proceedings of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KRR 1991), San Mateo, CA, pp. 473–484 (1991)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Rohde, J.: Soziologie des Krankenhauses. In: Zur Einführung in die Soziologie der Medizin, Ferdinand Enke Verlag, Stuttgart (1974)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Rosenschein, J.S., Zlotkin, G.: Rules of Encounter. The MIT Press, Cambridge (1994)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Scharpf, F.: Interaktionsformen. In: Akteurzentrierter Institutionalismus in der Politikforschung, Leske und Budrich, Opladen (2000)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Schulz-Schaeffer, I.: Sozialtheorie der Technik. Campus, Frankfurt a.M (2000)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Schulz-Schaeffer, I.: Enrolling software agents in human organizations. The exploration of hybrid organizations within the Socionics research program. In: Saam, N.J., Schmidt, B. (eds.) Cooperative agents. Applications in the social sciences, pp. 149–163. Kluver Academic Press, Dordrecht (2001)Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Strübing, J.: Bridging the Gap: On the collaboration between Symbolic Interactionism and Distributed Artificial Intelligence in the field of Multi-Agent Systems Research. Symbolic Interaction 21(4), 441–464 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Suchman, L.: Plans and situated actions. In: The problem of man-machine communication, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1987)Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Turner, R.H.: Role-taking: Process versus conformity. In: Rose, A.M. (ed.): Human behavior and social process. An interactionist perspective. Routledge, London, pp. 20–40 (1962)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Urbig, D., Monett Díaz, D., Schröter, K.: The C-IPS Agent Architecture for modeling negotiating social agents. In: Schillo, M., Klusch, M., Müller, J., Tianfield, H. (eds.) MATES 2003. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2831, pp. 217–228. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Wenger, E.: Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1998)Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Wooldridge, M., Jennings, N.R.: Intelligent agents: Theory and practice. Knowledge Engineering Review 10(2), 115–162 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Zimmermann, E.: Das Experiment in den Sozialwissenschaften. Teubner, Stuttgart (1972)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Meister
    • 1
  • Diemo Urbig
    • 2
  • Kay Schröter
    • 2
  • Renate Gerstl
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sociology, Technology StudiesTechnical University Berlin 
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence GroupHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin 

Personalised recommendations